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"Papa was generally a late goer to bed, and a late riser; but he often went to bed late and got up early, making up for lost sleep in his chair; but he existed on a very small amount of sleep. If he had an article on hand, he would sit up writing it all night, and drink strong coffee or tea to keep him wide awake; for he was always liable to dropping over in his chair into short dozes. He preferred writing during the night. He always read at night, holding a candle in his hand, and would constantly fall asleep with it in this position. When aroused by the information, Papa, papa, your hair is on fire!' he would say, 'Is it, my love?' brush his hand over it, and go to sleep again with the candle in his hand. He got so absorbed in what he was reading that it was a common occurrence setting his hair on fire. He was utterly callous to danger, and it is a miracle that he never set himself on fire. He has often set his bed on fire; but he was as expert in putting | it out as in putting it in.
"He was always more genial and talkative among ourselves, and particularly at tea-time and after it. It would be difficult to say what author he was fondest of reading; for from a penny spelling-book up to a Shakspeare, Milton, or Jeremy Taylor, he would read it, criticise it, turn it upside-down. In fact, as regards the spelling-book, you would be amazed at the amount of latent knowledge that lay hid in its recesses. I should think any one would guess from his works what a great admiration he had for Shakspeare and Milton, but I do not think that people would gather the same opinion as regards Jeremy Taylor; and yet think he would have placed him beside those two great towers of strength. He had an immense admiration and knowledge of Scripture, although he was far too unsystematic in his ways to make any point of conscience in reading them regularly. He often made points in the Bible subjects for discussion: yet I never heard him breathe a word of disbelief as regards any of them. He was a decided son of the Christian religion, and he had always a great respect and love for the Anglican Church.
"Children were always very fond of him,-not that he ever romped with them, but he had a great power of interesting them by his talking to them, and his gentle manner won their confidence. He was interested to the most curious extent by all his grandchildren, the thought of them even haunting him into the delirium of his death-bed. His constant talk during his illness was of children. I heard him say one night, 'Dear, dear little girl! you are, in some measure, the child of my old age.' 'Who, papa?' I said. The answer was, 'My dear little Eva.' She is my sister, Mrs. Craig's, little girl, and he had seen her when a baby.
"When within an hour or two of death, he said, They are all leaving me but my dear, dear little children; and one night he woke up from a long sleep and said with great animation, Emily, those Edinburgh cabmen are the most brutal set of fellows I ever knew of!' Why, what have they done? You must know, my dear, that I and the little children were all invited to a supper by Jesus Christ. So you see, as it was a great honour, I determined to get new dresses for the little children, and, would you believe it, when I and they went out in our new dresses, I saw those fellows all laughing at them.""-EMILY DE QUINCEY TO S. AUSTIN ALLIBONE, May 31, 1860.
THE EFFECTS OF OPIUM.
I have thus described and illustrated my intellectual torpor, in terms that apply, more or less, to every part of the four years during which I was under the Circean spell of opium. But for misery and suffering, I might, indeed, be said to have existed in a dormant state. I seldom could prevail on myself to write a letter; an answer of a few words, to any that I received, was the utmost that I could accomplish; and often that not until the letter had lain weeks, or even months, on my writing-table. Without the aid of M- all records of bills paid, or to be paid, must have perished; and my whole domestic economy, whatever became of political economy, must have gone into irretrievable confusion. I shall not afterwards allude to this part of the case! it is one, however, which the opium-eater will find, in the end, as oppressive and tormenting as any other, from the sense of incapacity and feebleness, from the direct embarrassments incident to the neglect or procrastination of each day's appropriate duties, and from the remorse which must often exasperate the stings of these evils to a reflective and conscientious mind. The opium-eater loses none of his moral sensibilities or aspirations: he wishes and longs, as earnestly as ever, to realize what he believes possible and feels to be exacted by duty; but his intellectual apprehension of what is possible infinitely outruns his power, not of execution only, but even of power to attempt. He lies under the weight of incubus and nightmare: he lies in sight of all that he would fain perform, just as a man forcibly confined to his bed by the mortal languor of a relaxing disease, who is compelled to witness injury or outrage offered to some object of his tenderest love: he curses the spells which chain him down from motion: he would lay down his life if he might get up and walk, but he is powerless as an infant, and cannot even attempt to rise.
I now pass to what is the main subject of these later confessions, to the history and journal of what took place in my dreams: for these were the immediate and proximate cause of my acutest suffering.
The first notice I had of any important change going on in this part of my physical economy was the re-awakening of a state of eye generally incident to childhood, or exalted states of irritability. I know not whether my reader is aware that many children, perhaps most, have a power of painting, as it were upon the darkness, all sorts of phantoms; in some, that power is simply a mechanic affection of the eye; others have a voluntary or a semi-voluntary power to dismiss or to summon them; or, as a
child once said to me when I questioned him on this matter, “I can tell them to go and they go; but sometimes they come when I don't tell them to come." Whereupon I told him that he had almost as unlimited a command over apparitions as a Roman centurion over his soldiers. In the middle of 1817, I think it was, that this faculty became positively distressing to me: at night, when I lay in bed, vast processions passed along in mournful pomp; friezes of never-ending stories, that to my feelings were as sad and solemn as if they were stories drawn from times before Edipus or Priam,-before Tyre,-before Memphis. And, at the same time, a corresponding change took place in my dreams: a theatre seemed suddenly opened and lighted up within my brain, which presented mighty spectacles of more than earthly splendour. And the four following facts may be mentioned, as noticeable at this time:
1. That as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy seemed to arise between the waking and the dreaming states of the brain in one point,-that whatsoever I happened to call up and to trace by a voluntary act upon the darkness was very apt to transfer itself to my dreams, so that I feared to exercise this faculty; for, as Midas turned all things to gold, that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his human desires, so whatsoever things capable of being visually represented I did but think of in the darkness, immediately shaped themselves into phantoms of the eye, and by a process apparently no less inevitable, when thus once traced in faint and visionary colours, like writings in sympathetic ink, they were drawn out by the fierce chemistry of my dreams into insufferable splendour that fretted my heart.
2. For this and all other changes in my dreams were accompanied by deep-seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, such as are wholly incommunicable by words. I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically but literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I could ever re-ascend. Nor did I. by waking, feel that I had re-ascended. This I do not dwell upon because the state of gloom which attended these gorgeous spectacles, amounting at least to utter darkness, as of some suicidal despondency, cannot be approached by words.
3. The sense of space, and in the end the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, etc., were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to receive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me
so much as the vast expansion of time: I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night, nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience.
4. The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived: I could not be said to recollect them; for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But placed as they were before me, in dreams like intuitions, and clothed in all their evanescent circumstances, and accompanying feelings, I recognized them instantaneously. I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of death but for the critical assistance which reached her, she saw in a moment her whole life, in its minutest incidents, arrayed before her simultaneously as in a mirror; and she had a faculty developed as suddenly for comprehending the whole and every part. This, from some opium experiences of mine, I can believe. I have, indeed, seen the same thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true, viz., that the dread book of account which the Scriptures speak of, is, in fact, the mind itself of each individual. Of this, at least, I feel assured, that there is no such thing as forgetting possible to the mind. A thousand accidents may, and will, interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will always rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever, just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.
Having noticed these four facts as memorably distinguishing my dreams from those of health, I shall now cite a case illustrative of the first fact, and shall then cite any others that I remember, either in their chronological order, or any other that may give them more effect as pictures to the reader.
I had been in youth, and even since, for occasional amusement, a great reader of Livy, whom I confess that I prefer, both for style and matter, to any other of the Roman historians; and I had often felt as most solemn and appalling sounds, and most emphatically representative of the majesty of the Roman people, the two words so often occurring in Livy,-Consul Romanus; especially when the consul is introduced in
his military character. I mean to say that the words king, sultan, regent, etc., or any other titles of those who embody in their own persons the collective majesty of a great people, had less power over my reverential feelings. I had also, though no great reader of history, made myself minutely and critically familiar with one period of English history, viz., the period of the parliamentary war, having been attracted by the moral grandeur of some who figured in that day, and by the many interesting memoirs which survived those unquiet times. Both these parts of my lighter reading, having furnished me often with matter of reflection, now furnished me with matter for my dreams. Often I used to see, after painting upon the black darkness, a sort of rehearsal whilst waking, a crowd of ladies, and perhaps a festival, and dances. And I heard it said, or I said to myself, "These are English ladies from the unhappy times of Charles I. These are the wives and the daughters of those who met in peace, and sat at the same tables, and were allied by marriage or by blood; and yet, after a certain day in August, 1642, never smiled upon each other again, nor met but in the field of battle; and at Marston Moor, at Newbury, or at Naseby, cut asunder all ties of love by the cruel sabre, and washed away in blood the memory of ancient friendship." The ladies danced and looked as lovely as the court of George IV. Yet I knew, even in my dream, that they had been in the grave for nearly two centuries. This pageant would suddenly dissolve; and, at a clapping of hands, would be heard the heart-quaking sound of Consul Romanus; and immediately came "sweeping by," in gorgeous paludaments, Paulus or Marius, girt round by a company of centurions, with the crimson tunic hoisted on a spear, and followed by the Alalagmos of the Roman legions.
Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi's Antiquities of Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist, called his Dreams, and which record the scenery of his own visions during the delirium of a fever. Some of them (I describe only from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account) represented vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wheels, cables, pulleys, levers, catapults, etc., etc., expressive of enormous power put forth, and resistance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the walls, you perceived a staircase; and upon it, groping his way upwards, was Piranesi himself: follow the stairs a little farther, and you perceive it came to a sudden abrupt termination, without any balustrade, and allowing no
step onwards to him who had reached the
"The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
The sublime circumstances" battlements that on their restless fronts bore stars"-might have been copied from my architectural dreams, for it often occurred. We hear it reported of Dryden, and of Fuseli in modern times, that they thought proper to eat raw meat for the sake of obtaining splendid dreams: how much better for such a purpose to have eaten opium, which yet I do not remember that any poet is recorded to have done, except the drainatist Shadwell: and in ancient days, Homer is, I think, rightly reputed to have known the virtues of opium.
To my architecture succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of water: these haunted me so much, that I feared (though possibly it will appear ludicrous to a medical man) that some dropsical state or tendency of the brain might thus be making
itself (to use a metaphysical word) objective; and the sentient organ project itself as its own object. For two months I suffered greatly in my head,-a part of my bodily structure which had hitherto been so clear from all touch or taint of weakness (physically I mean), that I used to say of it, as the last Lord Oxford said of his stomach, that it seemed likely to survive the rest of my person. Till now I had never felt a headache even, or any the slightest pain, except rheumatic pains caused by my own folly. However, I got over this attack, though it must have been verging on something very dangerous.
The waters now changed their character, -from translucent lakes, shining like mirrors, they now became seas and oceans. And now came a tremendous change, which, unfolding itself slowly like a scroll, through many months, promised an abiding torment; and, in fact, it never left me until the winding-up of my case. Hitherto the human face had mixed often in my dreams, but not despotically, nor with any special power of tormenting. But now that which I have called the tyranny of the human face began to unfold itself. Perhaps some part of my London life might be answerable for this. Be that as it may, now it was that upon the rocking waves of the ocean the human face began to appear: the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces, upturned to the heavens,-faces, imploring, wrathful, despairing, surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by centuries. My agitation was infinite,-my mind tossed,and surged with the ocean.
The Malay has been a fearful enemy for months. I have been every night, through his means, transported into Asiatic scenes. I know not whether others share in my feelings on this point; but I have often thought that if I were compelled to forego England, and to live in China and among Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep; and some of them must be common to others. Southern Asia, in general, is the seat of awful images and associations. As the cradle of the human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential feeling connected with it. But there are other reasons. No man can pretend that the wild, barbarous, and capricious superrstitions of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere, affect him in the way that he is affected by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate religions of Indostan, etc. The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions, histories, modes of faith, etc., is so impressive, that to me the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of
youth in the individual. A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed. Even Englishmen, though not bred in any knowledge of such institutions, cannot but shudder at the mystic sublimity of castes that have flowed apart, and refused to mix through such immemorial tracts of time; nor can any man fail to be awed by the names of the Ganges or the Euphrates. It contributes much to these feelings, that Southern Asia is, and has been for thousands of years, the part of the earth most swarming with human life,-the great of ficina gentium. Man is a weed in those regions. The vast empires, also, into which the enormous population of Asia has always been cast, give a further sublimity to the feelings associated with all Oriental names or images. In China, over and above what it has in common with the rest of Southern Asia, I am terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and the barrier of utter ab horrence, and want of sympathy, placed between us by feelings deeper than I can analyze. I could sooner live with lunatics or brutal animals. All this, and much more than I can say, or have time to say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlights, I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appearances, that are found in all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Indostan. From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by parroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas: and was fixed, for centuries, at the summit, or in secret rooms; I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu hated me; Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Iris and Osiris, I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers, at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed. with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles, and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.
I thus give the reader some slight abstraction of my Oriental dreams, which always filled me with such amazement at the monstrous scenery, that horror seemed absorbed for a while in sheer astonishment. Sooner or later came a reflux of feeling that swallowed up the astonishment, and left me, not
power, to decide it. I had the power, if I could raise myself, to will it; and yet again had not the power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt. Deeper than ever plummet sounded," I lay inactive. Then, like a chorus, the passion deepened. Some greater interest was at stake; some mightier cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded or trumpet had proclaimed. Then came the sudden alarms; hurryings to and fro; trepidations of innumerable fugitives, I knew not whether from the good cause or the bad; darkness and lights; tempests and human faces; and at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features that were worth all the world to me. and but a moment allowed-and clasped hands, and heart-breaking partings, and then-everlasting farewells! and with a sigh, such as the caves of hell sighed when the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of death, the sound was reverberated-everlasting farewells; and again, and yet again reverberated-everlasting farewells!
And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud,
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
so much in terror, as in hatred and abomination at what I saw. Over every form, and threat, and punishment, and dim, sightless incarceration, brooded a sense of eternity and infinity that drove me into an oppression as of madness. Into these dreams only, it was, with one or two slight exceptions, that any circumstances of physical horror entered. All before had been moral and spiritual terrors. But here the main agents were ugly birds, or snakes, or crocodiles, especially the last. The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more than almost all the rest. I was compelled to live with him, and (as was always the case almost in my dreams) for centuries. I escaped sometimes, and found myself in Chinese houses, with cane tables, etc. All the feet of the tables, sofas, etc., soon became instinct with life: the abominable head of the crocodile, and his leering eyes, looked out at me, multiplied into a thousand repetitions: and I stood loathing and fascinated. And so often did this hideous reptile haunt my dreams, that many times the very same dream was broken up in the very same way: I heard gentle voices speaking to me (I hear every-"I will sleep no more!" thing when I am sleeping); and instantly I awoke: it was broad noon; and my children were standing, hand in hand, at my bedside, come to show me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or to let me see them dressed for going out. I protest, that so awful was the transition from the damned crocodile, and the other unutterable monsters and abortions of my dreams to the sight of innocent human natures, and of infancy, that, in the mighty and sudden revulsion of mind, I wept, and could not forbear, as I kissed their faces. . . As a final specimen, I cite a dream of a different character from 1820:-The dream commenced with a music which now I often heard in dreams,a music of preparation and of awakening suspense, a music like the opening of the Coronation Anthem, and which, like that, gave the feeling of a vast march, of infinite cav-sidered, in Eight Sermons: Bampton Lecalcades filing off, and the tread of innumerable armies. The morning was come of a mighty day,-a day of crises and of final hope for human nature, then suffering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity. Somewhere, I knew not where, somehow, I knew not how,-by some beings, I knew not whom,-a battle, a strife, an agony was conducting,-was evolving like a great drama, or piece of music, with which my sympathy was the more insupportable from my confusion as to its place, its cause, its nature, and its possible issue. I, as usual in dreams (where, of necessity, we make ourselves central to every movement), had the power, and yet had not the
RICHARD WHATELY, D.D., born in London, 1787, Fellow of Oriel College, 1811, Principal of St. Alban Hall, Oxford, 1825, Professor of Political Economy, Oxford, 1830, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalagh, 1831, Bishop of Kildare, 1846, died in Dublin, Oct. 8, 1863. Works: Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte, Lond., 1819, 8vo (anon.), 12th edit., 1849, 12mo; The Christian's Duty with Respect to the Established Government and the Laws Considered, in Three Sermons, 1821, 8vo; The Use and Abuse of Party Feeling in Matters of Religion Con
ture, Oxf., 1822, 8vo, 4th edit., with additions, 1839, 8vo; Essays (First Series) on some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion, Oxf., 1825, 8vo, 7th edit., Lond., 1860, 8vo; Elements of Logic, Lond., 1827, 8vo, 10th edit., 1850, demy 8vo, new edit., 1864, post 8vo; Elements of Rhetoric, Oxf., 1828, 8vo, 7th edit., Lond., 1846, demy 8vo. new edit., 1857, crown 8vo; Essays (Second Series) on some of the Difficulties in the Writings of the Apostle Paul, and in other Parts of the New Testament, Lond., 1828, 8vo, 8th edit., 1865, 8vo; A View of the Scripture Revelations concerning a Future State, etc., Lond., 1829, 12mo, 9th edit., 1870, fp. 8vo; Essays (Third Series): The